By Badea Abu Al-Naja
THE Riyadh Prison Food Service has been granted the accreditation certificate of the Saudi Central Board for Accreditation of Healthcare Institutions (CBAHI).
The certificate recognizes institutions that have complied with CBAHI standards, which focus on food safety risks and critical points and set mechanisms to monitor the performance of institutions.
“This recognition reflects the efforts exerted by the Directorate General of Prisons in order to develop and design plans and strategies for food safety. The prison directorate takes hygiene and food safety at prisons very seriously and even applies state-of-the-art technologies to monitor food preparation methods inside prisons. All food served to inmates, male and female, all over the prisons in the country should be safe,” said the directorate’s spokesman Brig. Gen. Ayoub Naheet.
The process of food preparation is monitored by over 140 supervisors who hold food and nutrition diplomas and degrees. Supervisors are also trained and armed with high technical skills and some of them get scholarships to study abroad while some enroll in training programs overseas in order to be have vast knowledge about how to protect inmates’ health and serve them with safe food.
“This achievement would not have been possible without the directives of Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Muhammad Bin Naif. The Crown Prince ordered that a supreme committee should be formed to ensure high safety standards for prison inmates,” said Brig. Gen. Naheet.
The committee comprised members from the Prison Directorate, ministries of health, finance, municipal and rural affairs, Saudi Food and Drug Authority and the Saudi Society for Food and Nutrition. The Crown Prince also ordered that a food safety department should be set up within the directorate and be tasked with catering contracts and monitoring of food safety, explained Naheet.
“The department also monitors the performance of catering companies and their compliance with pertinent standards and requirements. It ensures all kitchen workers follow hygiene standards and have licenses, which show that they have been tested regularly. The department’s main goal is to ensure maximum levels of inmate satisfaction,” he added.
The department requires its staff to attend workshops focusing on nutrition programs and attend forums and local as well as global conferences on nutrition and food. Moreover, several pertinent authorities like the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and the Human Rights Commission monitor the performance of the department.
The CODEX ALIMENTARIUS were drafted by the Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization.